Online advertising has become an increasingly important part of the small business marketer’s toolkit. With the receding economy imposing budget cuts for large and small businesses alike—especially any program aimed at pie-in-the-sky mass brand extension without an immediate return—there is an even greater need to focus your dollars on the most targeted and engaged audience.
Online audiences are continuing to become more fragmented, making way for new vertical ad networks focused on multiple key sectors, including health care, technology, automotive, and travel. Vertical networks provide value for small businesses on both sides of the coin: niche publishers and targeted advertisers. On the publishing side, the burden of a cumbersome and expensive sales team is lifted off of the publisher’s shoulders, while the networks bring advertisers to you. Small businesses are also able to reach a targeted and engaged audience looking for highly specific information related to a specific product or service, stemming the tide of wasted dollars that cannot be connected to an immediate return.
For instance, a small health-care or supplement company can partner with a health ad network to reach readers who are actively seeking health information. The specificity of the vertical network allows the marketer to work with publishers and target consumers in real time with ads that focus on what the audience is interested in at the very moment they are interested. This results in higher click-throughs and better results for the campaign.
The online ad model is definitely shifting for the better. It may be more of an evolution than a revolution—and perhaps not as splashy as some other ad models—but it’s a movement toward a better way, not just a new way, to target online audiences.
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